Thank You, Readers for Saving My Life
Once I was lost, now I am found.
“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”
― George Bernard Shaw
28 years ago, I escaped real life for life online.
I was desperate, you see, to find an escape. I had made such a mess of things when I found the internet in 1994. It was, for me, a huge relief. So much of what I struggled with in real life vanished online. You could be anyone, but more importantly, you could say anything you wanted to say.
This turned out to be a lifesaver for me. I just wanted to write and write and write without my physical self being part of the equation. All people knew about me was the words I chose to type on a screen. It was such a thrill at first. “You’ve got mail!” AOL said. How to put into words what that felt like. Now I figure it must have been good old-fashioned dopamine hitting my brain.
I was a beaten down, heartbroken wreck of a person. I had never had an easy life, that’s for sure. I was always too sensitive. My mom tried to toughen me up by taking me out into the ocean. But I was always afraid of the waves. If the powerful waves of the Pacific have ever taken you under, you’ll understand. That means for a few seconds, you have to figure out how to get to the surface before you drown.
We Californians knew those waves. You have to sink below them and wait for them to thunder on by on the surface of the water. When it’s calm seas once again, you can come up for air, the wave continuing its assault to the shoreline.
I was never very good at what we called “going under.” I was always afraid. I was flanked by two sisters and an older brother who were born with courage somehow. I was the afraid one. Always. I was the one who broke my wrist running too fast on the garage roof. I was the one who scarred my leg when my sister and I rode a Quarter Horse called Teddy Bear through the trails of Topanga Canyon.
I don’t know why I was always so afraid. But I was. Growing up in Topanga in the 70s meant no boundaries for kids. We spent the next two or three decades trying to purge that wrongness from our collective DNA, working it all out on Oprah every day at 3.
It’s funny that all of that protection of children has now vanished to make room for activism. It’s good for them to learn about gender ideology and oppressor/oppressed systems. The forever childhood has been replaced with a sober reckoning of everything that’s potentially wrong with their world or maybe themselves.
I couldn’t make life work, try though I might. My life was pure chaos. Terrible relationships, bad decisions, always broke with bad credit. I somehow managed to graduate college after a series of city colleges, with the help of a therapist. Then I went to graduate school in New York before dropping out to chase a guy back to LA.
By then, I was lost. That’s when I found the internet. I could be a better person online. I could be saner. I could be prettier. No one knew what I looked like back then - they had to rely only on how I put words down to figure out who I was. We didn’t even know how to send images over the internet yet, and forget about smartphones.
I found a great way to communicate with people worldwide on a listserv. I can find my old writings there if I ever want to take the time to look back, which I rarely do. The internet is written in ink, so much of the time I’ve spent here has been recorded in one way or another.
I have a very large internet footprint capturing my life of the last 28 years through the filter of what I wanted people to see rather than what was real. That’s what the internet does. It turns us into other people. I think I fooled myself into thinking that I could always control that. But after Trump was elected and the Left lost its mind, they decided who people were based on their strident criteria.
On the listserv, My posts show up from firstname.lastname@example.org. I was also email@example.com. And eventually, firstname.lastname@example.org. None of these emails exist now. I have had lives on various sites like Facebook, Flickr, and even MySpace, way back when. And, of course, Twitter.
There are many different versions of me, depending on where you choose to look. But by far, my favorite version is the one that has landed here on Substack, trying to join the heretics and rebels, pushing back against the rising madness on the Left.
As I navigated my life online, I always found the internet to be a refuge. It was always a place for free expression. There were trolls, of course, and stalkers, but for the most part, it wasn’t the attack machine it has become. It didn’t build hive minds as it does now.
Had I known how things would end up online, I would have jumped off the internet long ago rather than invest so much of my life in friendships, people, and a new reality that would eventually turn on me.
The hives would become vicious, punitive, paranoid, and judgmental. Humanity would be stripped away as a group that believes itself morally and intellectually superior would close ranks to shut out those who didn’t fit, disagreed, or didn’t comply.
What I’ve seen change in the almost 30 years of online living is that with the rise of social media came a stripping of our collective humanity.
Over the past six years, maybe longer, my side has become the “planet of cops” that Freddie DeBoer once wrote about:
The woke world is a world of snitches, informants, rats. Go to any space concerned with social justice and what will you find? Endless surveillance. Everybody is to be judged. Everyone is under suspicion. Everything you say is to be scoured, picked over, analyzed for any possible offense. Everyone’s a detective in the Division of Problematics, and they walk the beat 24/7. You search and search for someone Bad doing Bad Things, finding ways to indict writers and artists and ordinary people for something, anything. That movie that got popular? Give me a few hours and 800 words. I’ll get you your indictments. That’s what liberalism is, now — the search for baddies doing bad things, like little offense archaeologists, digging deeper and deeper to find out who’s Good and who’s Bad. I wonder why people run away from establishment progressivism in droves.
After I left the Left in 2020, to escape the “planet of cops,” the dehumanization, the endless public humiliation fests, the groupthink, the forced compliance, and the ongoing mass hysteria, I was still pursued by yet more cops. They find me wherever I am and report to their monster clique on Film Twitter. Just when I think it’s over, that they’ve moved on to someone else, there it is again to remind me I am still under surveillance.
But I’ll never stop being surprised at people I have known for years, known in real life, who go along with this madness. But they do. This graphic below is liked by someone I have known and counted as a friend for years. Anyone who has done what I have done, or been a target, knows that feeling all too well.
Now we’ll have to attend screenings or parties together. What will we do, pretend this never happened? Ignore each other like strangers? Probably.
They want to say SHE IS BAD. Look at her. I am not bad, don’t look at me.
I can’t align with people like that. I can’t be part of their world. 16 people RT’d it. 75 LOVED it with a heart symbol. Twitter’s insidious practice of using the heart symbol - LOVE to reflect or express hatred. They LOVE that he is sending me into the arena for public shaming. They LOVE that they’re a part of it.
Even after taking power, doing well in the midterms, and dominating all culture and institutions, they still feel the need to use their time on this earth, on Twitter, publicly humiliating and shaming Trump supporters especially. Still, it could be anyone who is non-compliant. Elon Musk is driving them crazy. They would probably be relieved if Biden just went ahead and built the gulags and started filling them up with undesirables.
They don’t really have to do that because they’re trying to build virtual gulags - shutting out the population that doesn’t go along with their Great Awokening, or their condemnations of them. They don’t even know the people they hate. I did what they could not and would not do. I left my bubble and got to know the people on the other side.
I found kindness. I found open-hearted outsiders. I found people our culture has abandoned. I had no idea until I stepped out of my own bubble that Hollywood had become so one-sided. The documentaries, the dramas, even the animated films all took one side in a divided country. But what of the people they leave behind? How do we have a country when half of them are invisible to those who produce art and culture?
But that’s also their problem. They have lost touch with the struggle of everyday life. They must continually look inward at themselves in an endless repetitive pattern of agonizing naval gazing. They just aren’t that interesting. Their movies are about self-flagellation - how bad they are, the ruling class, how oppressive they are.
This has made for dull and uninteresting storytelling that is turning people off. Hollywood is just starting to notice because box office is so bad for prestige pics they can no longer ignore it. No one is showing up. They still refuse to confront the ugly reality that most people are no longer interested in spending money they don’t have for Hollywood to then spit in their faces with some kind of “woke” lecture.
It’s also becoming just plain dull. The ruling class holding up a mirror to itself as though a whole other world doesn’t exist outside of it? It does exist. The sooner they find that out, the better their movies will be.
They have a pathological hatred of Trump, unlike anything I’ve ever really lived through. Even though I know what it feels like to be on that side, and I have since done the hard work of humanizing Trump, his family, and his supporters, I still can’t fully process how it could be that bad for people like Sam Harris. Or Rob Reiner. Or Michael Moore.
I just want them to understand that they are the ones building this fantasy of who Trump is. They have written a character. All they get all day long in media and on social media is confirmation that yes, the Devil has come to Salem, and yes, witchcraft is real. Things won’t normalize until they’re over that fear.
This would be when we would probably go to war, and kill each other in an ongoing conflict to get it all out of our systems. Only after that could we find a way back to one another. But these aren’t two equal sides. One side has all of the power, and the other has none.
I never expected the internet, which was my safe space for freedom of expression, a place that gave me so much of what I couldn’t get in real life, would become such a terrifying nest of vipers that would be responsible for so much destruction. That is what it has become.
Most websites simply track you for data to sell you stuff. The Democrats have become so territorial they can’t bear to share Twitter with those they believe should not exist, or if they do exist, they should exist in another country or maybe another planet.
So if this was all I had, and I was forced to be their version of myself, and I had no way of expressing or writing what I knew was the truth, I am not sure I would make it. I would not have any reason to wake up in the morning. I would not even know who I was anymore. We are not the people they say we are.
Now, I’m not saying I would end my own life. I have a daughter, and that takes suicide off the table. But I am saying that life, for me, was starting to feel hopeless.
That was until this Substack. You, dear readers, have changed that for me. I want you to know how grateful I am to have this space and so many engaged souls reading what I write.
And without Real Clear Politics linking to my stories, which brought me a much wider audience and got the attention of Megyn Kelly and Glenn Beck, both of whom reached out and interviewed me on their shows, I wouldn’t have so many of you here. I feel lucky and grateful to be part of what I hope will become a new reality, a new America, and maybe a new internet where we all get along, there are no hive minds, and we see each other as human beings.
Sometimes I listen to an old song, like something by the Waterboys, and it takes me back to the days when my life was pure chaos and the internet was something I knew nothing about. I see that carefree young woman who maybe didn’t have all the right answers but wasn’t going to be trapped by bullies or redefined as someone she wasn’t.
I was free from the condemnation of others. I hope future generations they can find a way never to sign up for that kind of life and not this one. I won’t say it has all been a waste. It hasn’t. But you never know where you’re headed until you get there.
All of this is to say thank you for saving my life. Thank you for treating me like a human being. We might be exiled together on some virtual desert island, but I can’t think of any group I’d rather be exiled with than you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.